By Elizabeth Prata
Yesterday I was shocked to read a certain tweet from Beth Moore. She had obviously had some kind of interaction on Twitter with a man who was saying some things about her husband, which she did not like. I tried to find the conversation, but could not.
Her tweet stated,
“If you make one more remark about my husband, whom you know nothing about, I will reach through this screen and punch you in the nose.”
I have three points.
After being shocked at the violent language that, Moore, a Bible teacher representing Christ employed, I was more shocked by the sheer numbers of people who came out of the woodwork to defend her statement.
It is never appropriate at any time to state that if someone does not desist you WILL punch them. I recognize that the statement is probably hyperbole. It’s not likely that Moore will go to where the man is and actually punch him. Conscious of safety, Moore herself employs or has in the past employed a bodyguard.
But in this day and age, who can tell? Maybe her followers will do it. I know of people who were angered at someone mentioning Moore in a slightly negatively way online, but in real life some of her followers stalked the person in retaliation. We read of doxxing, too (where personal information and documents are deliberately leaked online, leading to identity theft and worse.)
In this cultural climate, such threats even from a secular person are not appropriate. It’s not “just” hyperbole (as many stated to me) and it’s not “just” defending her husband. If you say such things at the office, you’ll likely be talking to HR and enrolled in an anger management class. Twitter has a block button. If you’re getting angry with someone online, push back from the computer and go your way.
2. Comportment as Ambassadors.
To comport yourself is to conduct yourself or behave in a certain way. Though I appreciate that the world wide web isn’t regulated and is sort of a Wild West, we ourselves are not free to behave in any way we choose. We are Ambassadors of Christ. Self-control is the rule of the day. (Titus 2:5). What does this mean?
An Ambassador is supposed to be a mirror likeness to the one he represents. The definition of an ambassador is: an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country.
Regenerated people are Ambassadors for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.
Paul directly ties the ministry of reconciliation to our ambassadorship.
All believers should serve Christ as His ambassadors. Paul’s appeal was not a perfunctory pronouncement but an impassioned plea (“we try to persuade men” [v. 11]) addressed to the world on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (cf. 1 Tim. 2:3–4). ~The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures.
What Beth Moore said was the opposite of a ministry of reconciliation. It was an extremely poor witness.
In the Roman Empire, there were two kinds of provinces: senatorial provinces and imperial provinces. The senatorial provinces were made up of people who were peaceful and not at war with Rome. They had surrendered and submitted. But the imperial provinces were not peaceful; they were dangerous because they would rebel against Rome if they could. It was necessary for Rome to send ambassadors to the imperial provinces to make sure that rebellion did not break out.
Since Christians in this world are the ambassadors of Christ, this means that the world is in rebellion against God. This world is an “imperial province” as far as God is concerned. He has sent His ambassadors into the world to declare peace, not war. “Be ye reconciled to God!” We represent Jesus Christ (John 20:21; 2 Cor. 4:5). If sinners reject us and our message, it is Jesus Christ who is actually rejected. What a great privilege it is to be heaven’s ambassadors to the rebellious sinners of this world! Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary
3. Scripture violation
The Bible, especially Proverbs, is rife with instructions about our language and the tongue. Here are just a few: Proverbs 15:4, James 1:26, Titus 2:5, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 15:1, and remember, teachers are judged MORE strictly- James 3:1.
Moore violated all of them, and there is no defense to that. Please understand ladies, this comment by Beth Moore is violent & doesn’t mirror behavior the Bible calls our women leaders & teachers to engage in as women of “noble character”. (Proverbs 31:10).
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26).
When we ourselves are tempted to say something like Moore did, and we all feel that way sometimes, please remember our Ambassadorship. We are not free agents. We are entrusted to carry a message of reconciliation to the world, in hopes that some will repent and believe.
Please remember our tongues are not our own, and take heed to follow the guides, instructions, and warnings about how we are to speak.
4. Sin spreads.
When sin goes unaddressed, it grows. Paul likened irreverent, empty chatter to gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:16-17). Gangrene spreads fast. Sin spreads fast, too. It is always crouching at the door, wanting to have you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7). Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 to
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Hurling threats of punching is not being sober minded. Sin wants to devour and it must be addressed immediately.
In a congregation it also must be addressed immediately. Either an individual in his or her prayer closet of a pastor enacting church discipline, sin has to be dealt with or it will grow to proportions with tentacles spread far and wide, as it obviously has in Beth Moore. Undisciplined, coddled, and applauded, her witness has grown increasingly tarnished. Let her unacceptable comportment be a lesson to me and all of us. There is no such thing as stasis. There are only two directions for growth, more like Christ, or less like Christ. There is Cain, and there is Abel. Upward in sanctification, or downward into sin.
Moore is demonstrating the latter. Her life as an object lesson is hard to watch, but instructive for all of us. Deal with your sin. Right away.
I truly believe that most people, Christians included, have no clue as to the depth and the power of our sin. God is sovereign, of course, but sin rules this world. Satan is the god of it (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan likes sin, incites sin, and doesn’t have to work too hard to get our flesh to sin. Sin’s power in us must be reigned in and mastered, and it begins with the mind and extends next to the tongue. I sin in this area as do we all.
Just because we live with it all around us, don’t become inured to the failings and corruptions of the tongue. Don’t excuse it. It’s easy to dismiss sinful behavior because we do it ourselves, or we’ve become the frog used to hot water, or any of a thousand reasons. Sin’s power was so great that God sent His Son to die in order to break it. (Romans 6:6). We are SAVED from the penalty of sin and the power of Sin, thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection and the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are heirs with Christ.
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 12-17)